Bill Stokoe Interview

Bill Stokoe Interview 500 500 GVG Admin

GVG Chairman Bill Stokoe was interviewed by The Guildford Dragon news site recently.  View Bill’s interview on this link

Transport Experts Say Vision Group’s New Traffic Corridor Would Bring Significant Changes

Transport Experts Say Vision Group’s New Traffic Corridor Would Bring Significant Changes 910 683 Lisa Flounders

In a report commissioned by Guildford Vision Group (GVG), experts at local transport consultancy Motion have concluded that the town centre traffic layout proposed by GVG would have significant benefits.

Thanks to the new East/West traffic corridor over the river and railway put forward by GVG, the aggregate number of junctions encountered by vehicle movements routeing across the town centre falls by 40% to 93 from the 156 encountered involving the current gyratory.

The report also concludes that the new corridor and associated routeing ‘can deliver major environmental, safety and transport benefits as well as adding considerable resilience to the system’.

As the latest public consultation on the Local Plan comes to an end, Motion also points out that the creation of a Sustainable Movement Corridor (SMC) is a key part of the spatial vision for the borough, as set out in the submission Local Plan, and that the GVG masterplan assists in its delivery.

The GVG plan significantly aids the delivery of key SMC elements by substantially improving the town centre for pedestrians, cyclists and buses, whilst making car journeys easier and separating modes to greatly facilitate modal shift.

“We’re delighted to receive this confirmation of the validity of our proposals for town centre traffic, especially in relation to our proposed crossing,‘ says John Rigg, chairman of GVG. ‘The crossing is the great enabler. It frees up riverside and other space for pedestrianisation. Bridge Street becomes a car-free route and remains the natural desire line for pedestrians to and from the station into town. Cyclists get dedicated paths. It enables creation of great public realm, making Guildford an even more attractive place to visit, to relax in, and to live and work in. Our plan is a win-win all round.”

GVG has included the Motion report as part of its submission under the latest Local Plan consultation which ended at noon on Tuesday 23 October.

Key Guildford residents groups want wider scope for reopened local plan hearing

Key Guildford residents groups want wider scope for reopened local plan hearing 1920 1440 Lisa Flounders

Guildford, Wednesday 31 October 2018: The Guildford Society (GSoc) and Guildford Vision Group (GVG) want the reopened public hearing into the Local Plan to consider the council’s proposed new town centre policy wording, not just the housing numbers. Both resident groups fully support the reopening of the Local Plan hearing to consider new housing numbers in the light of revised, lower ONS projections. Examining inspector Jonathan Bore has asked the council to propose dates for another hearing session.


GSoc AND GVG are both keen, however, to see any new hearing encompass a discussion on Policy S3, following their submissions under the public consultation just closed. This Local Plan is about land use allocation – where development should take place. The policy, covering the town centre, is therefore inextricably linked to both the housing number and housing location issues.


Both groups are unhappy with the wording and scope of Policy S3. They suggest S3 and related policies are currently inadequate and need meaningful commitments to provide an effective framework for development. Both groups have lobbied for the town centre to accommodate much more housing, thus freeing up one or more Green Belt sites currently in the frame for housing development. Town centre homes represent more sustainable development than congestion-creating homes in the Green Belt dependent on major A3 improvements as yet to be scheduled, and acknowledged by GBC to be outside its control. Town centre homes would be good for the town’s economy but would again focus attention on the centre’s inadequate infrastructure.


GVG and GSoc say regeneration of the town centre must be masterplanned in a holistic way to address failings in the infrastructure (transport, flood prevention, public realm/facilities etc). A high quality, functioning town centre with a proper balance of housing, commercial and retail space, is not achievable otherwise. Policy S3 should designate the whole of the town centre as a strategic site – or at least the regeneration area identified in the Town Centre Regeneration Strategy – delivering homes, retail and commercial space. Such development could then come with the same obligations the council wishes to impose on private developers of the strategic green belt sites.


Policy S3, as currently written, allows for a piecemeal ad-hoc approach which will never deliver the infrastructure upgrade the town needs. The emerging impact of ad-hoc planning can already be seen, with opportunistic developments of nine storeys or more – up to fourteen – either approved or under application.


Both groups have also complained at the poor response from the council regarding consultation with key stakeholders on the important issue of the town centre. As an example, GVG and GSOC submitted a Draft Statement of Common Ground to the council as part of the hearing process. It was never acknowledged by the council.

GVG has published its councillor briefing pack

GVG has published its councillor briefing pack 1920 1440 Lisa Flounders

We are championing quality in town centre development.

GVG councillor briefing pack

GVG’s manifesto

GVG’s manifesto 1920 1440 Lisa Flounders

We have published our 2015 manifesto.

We call on all Guildford Borough prospective councillor candidates in May 2015 to firmly pledge to give the town centre back to people through the masterplan.

GVG manifesto

Network Rail draft consultation

Network Rail draft consultation 1920 1440 Lisa Flounders

Network Rail has published its draft consultation document – Wessex: Route study.

Draft consultation

Guildford on the Way

Guildford on the Way 654 400 admin

Post Cards from 2030

Post Cards from 2030 1920 1440 admin

Guildford Vision Group has issued its vision document to begin a discussion about what Guildford could be like in the future:

Guildford on the Way – A Vision for Guildford in 2030 and beyond To be read in conjunction with Annex Document :

Guildford on the Way – Annex document to: A Vision for Guildford in 2030 and beyond

The form below  is provided so that everyone can have a say.  Please send us a post card from the future to tell us what the future looks like through your eyes.

We will enter your text into our post card template and add it to a collection of post cards on our site.



Ideas of a Vision for Guildford

Ideas of a Vision for Guildford 1920 1440 admin

Pedestrianisation of Onslow Street

Opening up of the River

are just two possiblities of what can be achieved for Guildford.

Invitation to the Community of Guildford to come and give us your views on 29th September and meet Urban Master Planners, Allies & Morrison

Invitation to the Community of Guildford to come and give us your views on 29th September and meet Urban Master Planners, Allies & Morrison 1920 1440 admin

What about alternative transport solutions?

What about alternative transport solutions? 1920 1440 admin

There is a desparate need for a solution that goes some way to weaning Guildford off the car and into using alternative transport solutions! I moved here from inner London 18 months ago and my bike has not left the shed. Provision for cyclists is dire, likewise sensible bus routes (I live in Stoughton). I grew up in Guildford 30 years ago and I was frankly shocked when I moved back about how little had changed in relation to these types of issue. Nevertheless I feel a strong association with the town and want the best for it.

Ed Milnes of GU2

Minutes of Meeting 31st August 2012

Minutes of Meeting 31st August 2012 1920 1440 admin

The North Street Development Brief and the Interim Town Centre Framework are both due to be adopted by the GBC Executive on 6 September.

Guildford Vision Group strongly believes that neither of these should be adopted before a full study of the traffic implications is undertaken – and the results fed back into the documents.

A full review of Guildford’s out-dated transportation infrastructure is clearly necessary. Guildford Borough Council now appear to be convinced of this too, but they still don’t want to admit that  IT NEEDS TO BE DONE FIRST!

Developments should be geared to rail (and bus) commuters

Developments should be geared to rail (and bus) commuters 1920 1440 admin

With regard to the proposed Waitrose, the developments proposed at the main railway station should also be geared towards public transport users (and walkers) so that there shouldn’ t be a problem with extra overload of the gyratory.  Housing should be for non-car-drivers, or at least non-car-owners, but perhaps with a small pool of cars (e.g. “Streetcar”) for occasional use.  The hotel should be aimed at people ariving by train; on my train holiday travels around Europe (including the UK) it’s so nice to be able to get out of a train and find a hotel for the night within sight of the station.  There should be offices geared to rail (and bus) commuters.

Trevor Jones

Minutes of Meeting 24th August

Minutes of Meeting 24th August 1920 1440 admin

GVG members were delighted to welcome Councillor James Palmer, Lead Councillor for Transportation and for the Town Centre, to our regular Friday meeting on 24 August. In spite of GVG having extended regular and on-going invitations to our meetings, this was the first time that one of the Councillorshad attended.

Cllr Palmer was interested to hear GVG views. He had not been in post for long, but wanted to assure GVG that GBG recognised that the original Draft Master Plan had been inadequate.

According to Cllr Palmer, GBC wants a properous and lively Guildford, preserving the historic character, culture, business etc – not just retail. However, the North Street Development Brief would introduce an  additional 60,000 sq m of retail space!

Cllr Palmer wanted to reassure GVG that GBC was trying to bring forward the transportation study, but that planning decisions could not be put on hold while such studies were on-going. They had to be done in parallel. GVG urged that, if this were the case, then GBC needed to ‘PRESERVE OPTIONS’ so that opportunities, such as the possibility of a new river or railway crossing, were not lost for good.

GVG also suggested that at least some of the sites could be designated as not available for development until the infrastructure plan was in place.

GVG members are not against development. We are totally in favour of sustainable development based on a proper Master Plan. Without this, it would be virtually impossible for the town to grow its economy. Right now, corporate organisations won’t move their headquarters here because there is too little affordable housing, and the traffic is so bad.

We hope that the meeting on 24 August was just the start of a meaningful on-going dialogue with the Council. And of greater transparency from GBC.

Minutes of Meeting 17th August

Minutes of Meeting 17th August 1920 1440 admin

As soon as  we knew when the Interim Town Centre Framework would appear on the GBC website, GVG sent out an open invitation to a meeting on 28 August. This would be an opportunity for all to find out in what ways the ITCF differed from the original document, the Draft Town Centre Master Plan.

We were pleased to welcome over 150 residents, including almost a dozen GBC Councillors and Guildford’s MP to the meeting. GVG members kicked off proceedings by talking those present through the ITCF. The floor was then opened for all to ask questions, make comments etc.

The overall impression from the meeting was that we all love Guildford and want to preserve the things which make it special. On the other hand, we do not want the town to stagnate, or die a slow death, strangled by traffic.

There seemed to be a consensus that a holistic and long term approach was essential. We would be unlikely to achieve a more people friendly environment without looking at a much wider ‘Town Centre’. Only by including the  Cathedral, University,  Research Park and Hospitals in the Town Centre, can a truly VISIONARY FUTURE be developed for Guildford, integrating new public spaces and green areas and pedestrian and cycle friendly routes with the old and new built environment.

It was good to hear that the Council and Surrey County Council are now looking at traffic issues, but it is still impossible to understand how they can contemplate adopting plans before understanding the traffic implications. It really is putting the cart before the horse.

Minutes of Meeting 15th June 2012

Minutes of Meeting 15th June 2012 1920 1440 admin

GVG members are in conversation with a continuously expanding group of stakeholders in the town. Residents, businesses and workers all have an interest in seeing Guildford achieve its potential as a thriving economic hub for the southeast region, without losing its historic charm  and attraction as a place to live or visit.

GVG members share this same desire for Guildford’s future. As a group, we come from backgrounds as varied as architecture and chartered surveying to banking and arts management.  The one thing which unites us is our wish to see a secure and pleasant future for this lovely town. We have no vested interest beyond that.

We look forward to seeing the development of a professional master plan which will ensure such a future.

Liz Markwell

Add your Comments

Add your Comments 1920 1440 admin

This page is provided as a ‘blank canvas’ to capture thoughts that individuals have to solve specific issues.  Submissions can be made to ideas@guildfordvisiongroup.com

Please note that these ideas are not promoted nor endorsed by the Guildford Vision Group.  Please feel free to send us your comments

David Ogilvie Plan  20120425_OgilviePlan_1434_003

Traffic Solution by Bibhas Neogi A possible traffic solution

Minutes of Meeting 8th June 2012

Minutes of Meeting 8th June 2012 1920 1440 admin

GVG continues to work hard on diverse fronts to widen participation and encourage all stakeholder groups to have their say about the future of this great town. To that end, members are preparing letters, flyers etc to spread the word about the positive benefits of a master plan for Guildford Town Centre.

It is encouraging to note that  a significant number of individuals have contacted the group already to let us know of their ideas and concepts relating to future infrastructure, traffic and other issues.

Group members are looking forward to the possibility of collaborating with all levels of government in order to secure a vibrant economic future and continually improving environment for Guildford.

Liz Markwell

Minutes of Meetings

Minutes of Meetings 1920 1440 admin

GVG Meeting 1st June 2012 – Have your say

Guildford Vision Group members were delighted to hear that a date is about to be set between key members of the group and Guildford Borough. This will give us the chance to put our ideas directly to the Council and persuade them of the vital importance of a long term plan to tackle Guildford’s chronic traffic and other problems, as other towns have already done.

We are working hard to get more people who live and work in Guildford to get interested and engaged. This means contacting stakeholders, getting information out more widely via the website, flyers, letters and so on. We are also committed to sending out regular updates to registered supporters.

Why not sign up, have your say, and get the forward-looking Guildford we all want!

Liz Markwell


GVG Meeting 25th May – What Guildford wants

 This week, Guildford Vision Group discussed the changes Guildford needs in order to improve the current and future quality of life, and to ensure a strong economic future for the people and businesses in the town.

We need a town that works – and the first step towards that must be a long-term solution to the traffic problems.

Until Guildford town centre stops being strangled by traffic, it will be virtually impossible to achieve the other improvements people want – such as safe pedestrian and cycle routes, and pleasant green spaces.

Until everyone starts thinking of Guildford as people-centred rather than traffic-centred, any development proposals are doomed to failure or, at best, a low level of success.

Guildford needs a masterplan which puts people first.

Liz Markwell


Guildford Vision Group Meeting date: 11 May 2012

Guildford at a crossroads

The position Guildford is in right now presents both a challenge and an opportunity. There are a number of projects either on the table at the moment, or to be considered over the next few years, and two potential approaches to these projects.

One approach is to deal with each on an individual basis and with reference only to the existing infrastructure; the other is to look at all future development possibilities in the light of all the various pressing issues which need to be tackled – and take a holistic view.

The first approach is clearly short-sighted: the first stages of redevelopment undertaken in a piecemeal fashion could easily make future projects impossible to achieve.

The second approach allows for all projects to contribute to the quality of life for residents, workers and visitors and to the economic growth of Guildford as a whole in all sectors of activity – retail, University, leisure and tourism, SMEs and so on. This second approach requires a professional masterplan at its core – and depends on all authorities including Guildford Borough Council, Surrey County Council and the Highways Agency being involved.

Such a masterplan would cover the next 30 to 50 years, divided into 10 year stages. Only through addressing all the relevant issues – parking, access, tourism, a positive outcome for developers making large investments in the town – can sustainability be assured.

Liz Markwell



To view speeches and slides from the Guildford Vision Group Launch Meeting on 21st March 2012 click here

To read our blogs click here

To read other items in the news click here

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